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Somerset track teams have encouraging start to season

Somerset's Hannah Rosentreter takes off after receiving the baton from Shannon Belisle in the New Richmond Invitational at UW-River Falls last Tuesday.

It was an encouraging first week of meet action for the Somerset boys and girls track teams.

The Spartans performed well in their season opener, a six-team indoor meet at UW-River Falls last Tuesday.

The strength of the competition was stepped up when the Spartans competed in the Northern Badger Invitational in Menomonie on Saturday and the Spartans were able to match the competition. Somerset was the smallest school in the large school division of the meet. The Spartan boys placed fifth among 14 schools and the Spartan girls took sixth place in their half of the meet.

Somerset's boys have quickly proven this should be a bountiful season and that the team has exceptional depth. Coach Mike Holmquist said it was already clear that he would have to try some boys in new events, because the team is so deep in areas like the sprints. In the six-team meet at River Falls, Somerset had seven of the top nine finishers in the 55-meter dash.

Somerset seniors Robbie Lang and Luke Praschak set meet records Tuesday, Lang in the 55 dash and Praschak in the 55 hurdles. They were just as competitive in the 14-team field on Saturday, with Praschak winning the hurdles and Lang ranking second in the 55 dash.

In Saturday's meet the Spartans showed they should be equally strong in the field events. Senior Tyler Ledbeter shattered his career best marks to place in the high jump and triple jump. Junior Aaron Joppru took second place by clearing 12 feet in the pole vault. Junior Dallas Johnson showed he's ready to make an difference in the long jump, with a mark of 19 feet, 4 inches.

Somerset's girls showed they too are ready to be an impactful team. In Tuesday's meet senior Sarah Krig sent the message loudly, winning all four of her events and setting meet records in every one. Krig was doing just as well on Saturday until she tweaked a quad muscle in the pole vault.

Girls coach Dave Praschak said several other veteran runners proved quickly they are ready for big seasons, including seniors Natalie Broome and Siera Myer in that group.

One of the younger Spartans who has shown significant improvement is sophomore Rachel Plourde. She was able to place in the shot put with a toss of 32 feet, 4.5 inches.

"She worked hard in the off-season and it is paying off," Praschak said.

The Spartans' next scheduled meet is supposed to be an outdoor meet on Thursday, April 4, at St. Croix Central, though the status of that meet is uncertain due to weather conditions. Two days later the Spartans will compete again indoors at the All-American Invitational in River Falls.